September 27, 2012 Subject:
Who needs a board
Who needs a sound board when the show smokes like this one here. The sound is Unreal. Not many shows get 5 stars from me not sure why just haven't givin out many but this here is 5 all the way
February 14, 2011 Subject:
This is arguably the great over-looked show of this era. The Stranger opener is so spot-on as to seem like it was mid-set or even a second set opener. The crowd must’ve been stunned and their reaction at the end hints at this. Peggy-O is just, well, perfect. Big RR Blues is smokin’ hot and sounds like Garcia is dancing on top of the very strong backing of the rest of the band. Bird Song is my favorite from this period of the Dead. The only ones I think surpass it are 8/27/72 & 6/22/73 but those are just too wild. This version of Bird Song is light years beyond the famous Cole Field House version later in the week that though about 18 minutes in length sounds like Jerry is drunk or forgot about the rest of the band or both. This one is concise, focused and has mini-jams inside that are group improvisation at its finest. Deal is yet another example of the super cool combined group effort where the band is just easily wailing and conjuring up pretty wicked ju-ju.
The China is listed as over 11 minutes long and not a note is wasted. Jerry flubs the lyrics to the first verse before spending the remaining ten minutes radiating mature mastery of both guitar and voice. Same telepathic and inspired group-think improv here as evidenced in Bird Song earlier. Rider is a connoisseurs dream: not flashy or too clever, but almost outrageous intricacy and searing heat. And speaking (writing?) of heat, the Samson blazes and is a perfect group rock and roll statement. The outro jam of He’s Gone generously explores the wonderful cascading musical figure typical of that jam with the crowd on percussion and then for the last three minutes or so there is a simply fantastic and rare Type II jam bursting with ideas and again is notably focused and composed. Killer, killer stuff. The Black Peter is typically great for the era with superb concert sound and lovely flourishes from Brent and Bobby. Casey Jones finishes things up with a classic warm breeze feel.
Of course this all captured perfectly by Jedi recording master Bob Wagner. Screw SBD’s! This is about a million time better. All instruments are perfectly represented in three dimensional glories from the sweet spot of a small classical venue (first row center balcony). Vocals are precise and in awesome stereo with superior presence and mix. The audience is plenty enthusiastic but mostly overwhelmed by this stunning performance. The band surely made some life-long fans in Cleveland that night. This and the MSG 05/09/81 & Nassau 05/06/1981 shows are perhaps the best shows of what was their last truly great year. Garcia’s voice is still pure and young and his guitar tone and technique is simply masterful. His guitar playing is expressive, melodious and often quite. I came in to the scene in 1985 and saw some real keepers: Hershey ’85, Alpine 88, Formerly the Warlocks ‘89, Cap Center 1990. It was all pretty wonderful, but it wasn’t night after night after night of shining glory like this era and a few eras before it. Be here now or be there now. Both are pretty darned great places.